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Organ-donor show is a hoax

June 02, 2007|From Reuters

A Dutch reality TV show in which a supposedly dying woman had to pick one of three contestants to whom she would donate a kidney was revealed Friday as an elaborate hoax.

The show, which the broadcaster had said aimed to focus attention on a shortage of donor organs in the Netherlands, was condemned by Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende before transmission and sparked controversy worldwide.

Identified only as "Lisa," the 37-year-old woman who was said to have been suffering from a brain tumor was to base her selection on the person's history and conversations with the candidates' families and friends. But in the last minutes of the broadcast, when she was supposed to announce her choice, she was revealed as a healthy actress and the producers stunned viewers by saying "The Big Donorshow" was a hoax.

The contestants were in on the deception, although all three are genuine kidney patients.

Dutch Education Minister Ronald Plasterk hailed the show as a "fantastic stunt" and an intelligent way to draw attention to the shortage of donor organs.

The producers apologized to viewers and said they hoped "outrage" over the show would turn into anger over the lack of organs for transplant.

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